Cooking may seem a daunting task, especially when it involves a vast and exotic array of Asian cuisine. Yet, the promise of sizzling woks, aromatic spices, and complex flavours is too alluring to resist, isn’t it? If you’re a beginner, you may wonder: Where should I begin? That’s precisely why we’ve compiled this list of ten easy Asian recipes for beginners to embark on their culinary adventure!

The Allure of Asian Cuisine

Asian cuisine has swept across the globe, winning hearts with its mouth-watering dishes. Its allure lies in the harmony of flavours – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami – intermingled to create a symphony on your palate. Even better, you don’t need to be an expert chef to bring these tastes into your kitchen!

Setting Up Your Asian Pantry

Before we dive into the recipes, let’s take a quick trip to the Asian pantry. What are some essentials you should stock up on? Soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and a good selection of chillies and spices should cover most bases. These are the backbone of many Asian dishes and will come in handy as you explore further.

The Allure of Asian Cuisine

From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the vibrant markets of Mumbai, the sophisticated sushi bars of Tokyo to the aromatic kitchens of Beijing, the rich diversity and irresistible appeal of Asian cuisine is undeniable. At the heart of this gastronomical realm, a golden thread of common elements binds together an array of cultures, geographies, and cuisines, creating a complex yet fascinating tapestry of flavours.

Asian cuisine is synonymous with a delicate balance of flavours. Be it the sweet and spicy interplay in General Tso’s Chicken, the salty-sour duet in Tom Yum Soup, or the bitter-sweet symphony in Matcha desserts – Asian culinary traditions are masters in celebrating the full spectrum of flavours. This dynamic harmony makes each dish a delightful surprise to your taste buds, serving not just a meal, but an experience.

The cooking techniques employed in Asian kitchens are equally fascinating. From the swirling works of China, the simmering hot pots of Korea, the grilling Robatayaki style of Japan, to the sizzling Tandoors of India, these culinary methods infuse a distinctive character into each bite. The transformation of simple, humble ingredients into stunning, soulful dishes through these techniques is truly the magic of Asian cuisine.

Furthermore, the emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients is a prominent feature of Asian cooking. A typical Asian market is a riot of colours, with piles of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices. Fish caught just hours before they hit the pan, poultry that’s as fresh as the break of dawn, vegetables that still hold the morning dew – this fresh-produce philosophy translates into vibrant, nutrient-packed dishes that not only taste heavenly but also nourish the body.

But what truly sets Asian cuisine apart is its incredible capacity to tell a story. Each dish, each ingredient, each spice has a tale to tell – of ancient traditions, of grandmothers’ secret recipes, of changing seasons, and of centuries-old cultures. To savour Asian cuisine is to embark on a tantalizing journey that celebrates history, culture, and tradition in every morsel.

Embarking on the adventure that is Asian cuisine can seem overwhelming, given its vast diversity. But don’t fret! With the right guidance and a spirit of exploration, any novice cook can bring the tantalizing flavours of Asia right into their kitchen. Let’s dive in!

Setting Up Your Asian Pantry

As you embark on your culinary adventure into Asian cuisine, setting up your pantry with essential ingredients is your first step. Like an artist’s palette, your pantry will be filled with an array of flavours and textures that will paint your dishes with the authentic taste of Asia.

Soy Sauce: One of the most iconic ingredients in Asian cuisine, soy sauce adds a depth of flavour and a salty kick to many dishes. There are various types of soy sauce – light, dark, sweet, and tamari, each with its own unique taste profile.

Sesame Oil: Characterised by its nutty flavour, sesame oil is often used as a finishing oil in stir-fries and salads. Its strong, distinctive taste can transform any dish.

Rice Vinegar: Made from fermented rice, this mild vinegar is a staple in many Asian dishes. It lends a tangy touch, elevating the overall flavour profile of the dish.

Ginger and Garlic: These two aromatic ingredients form the base of countless Asian recipes. They infuse dishes with a warm, zesty flavour that is unmistakably Asian.

Chillies and Spices: From dried red chillies, and chilli paste (like gochujang and sambal oelek), to the vast range of Asian spices such as star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, turmeric, and coriander, these fiery ingredients are the heart and soul of Asian cuisine. They add heat, flavour, and complexity to the dishes.

Rice and Noodles: Rice, in its various forms, is a staple in Asian cuisine, and noodles are integral to many dishes. Whether it’s Jasmine rice, Basmati rice, rice noodles, or wheat noodles, these grains are often the canvas on which the rest of the ingredients shine.

Coconut Milk: Used extensively in South East Asian cooking, coconut milk adds creaminess and a subtle sweetness to dishes. It forms the base of many curries and soups.

Other essentials include oyster sauce, fish sauce, tofu, miso paste, and a variety of fresh and dried mushrooms. Also, stocking up on Asian herbs like lemongrass, Thai basil, and cilantro can add an extra zing to your dishes.

Once you’ve filled your pantry with these essentials, you’re all set to start your culinary journey through Asian cuisine. Each of these ingredients will help you add the authentic, vibrant flavours that make Asian dishes so beloved around the world. So, let’s get cooking!

1. Easy Chicken Stir-fry

When it comes to easy and quick Asian dishes, a classic Chicken Stir-fry stands uncontested. Originating from the fast-paced kitchens of China, stir-frying is a cooking technique where ingredients are fried in a small amount of very hot oil while being stirred in a wok. The high heat and quick cooking help to seal in the flavours and retain the freshness of the ingredients, making it a perfect beginner’s recipe.


  • Boneless chicken: 500g, cut into thin strips
  • Mixed vegetables: 3 cups (like bell peppers, snow peas, carrots), thinly sliced
  • Soy sauce: 3 tablespoons
  • Sesame oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Fresh ginger: 1 tablespoon, finely chopped
  • Garlic: 3 cloves, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper: to taste


  1. Heat one tablespoon of sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan over high heat.
  2. Add the chicken strips, season with a little salt and pepper, and stir-fry until they’re nicely browned (about 5-7 minutes). Remove the chicken from the wok and set aside.
  3. Into the same wok, add the remaining sesame oil and stir-fry the ginger and garlic until fragrant.
  4. Next, add the mixed vegetables, stirring continuously for about 2-3 minutes, until they are just tender. Remember, the vegetables should remain vibrant and crisp.
  5. Return the cooked chicken to the wok. Add the soy sauce, and toss everything together, ensuring the chicken and vegetables are well coated in the sauce. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  6. Check the seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if needed. Serve your Easy Chicken Stir-fry hot with a side of steamed rice or noodles.

This Easy Chicken Stir-fry is the perfect gateway into the world of Asian cuisine. It’s simple yet packed with flavours, flexible with ingredients, and ready in a jiffy. So, grab your wok and let the stir-frying begin!

2. Thai Green Curry

Our next culinary stop is Thailand, renowned for its fragrant curries. Among them, the Thai Green Curry is a deliciously vibrant and creamy dish that’s a hit worldwide. The secret to its unique flavour lies in the homemade green curry paste, though a store-bought version can save time for beginners without sacrificing too much on taste. Here’s how you can make your own Thai Green Curry at home.


  • Chicken: 500g, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Green curry paste: 3 tablespoons
  • Coconut milk: 400ml
  • Thai eggplants: 200g, quartered
  • Bamboo shoots: 1 cup, sliced
  • Thai basil leaves: a handful
  • Kaffir lime leaves: 3-4, torn into pieces
  • Fish sauce: 2 tablespoons
  • Sugar: 1 teaspoon


  1. Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium heat, add the green curry paste and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and cook until they are lightly browned.
  3. Pour in half of the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the eggplants and bamboo shoots, then lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Add the rest of the coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, and sugar. Stir well and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Finally, add the Thai basil leaves, give it a quick stir, and remove from heat. Serve your Thai Green Curry hot with a side of Jasmine rice.

This Thai Green Curry is an aromatic, comforting, and satisfying dish that will transport you straight to the heart of Thailand. It’s a wonderful recipe to explore the richness and diversity of Thai cuisine. So, why not give it a try? Happy cooking!

3. Japanese Miso Soup

A staple in Japanese cuisine, Miso Soup is a soothing and nutritious dish often served as part of a traditional Japanese breakfast or as a starter for meals. Made from fermented soybean paste (miso), dashi stock, and various ingredients like tofu and seaweed, this soup is a delightful balance of umami flavours and comforting warmth.


  • Miso paste: 3 tablespoons (white or red, as per your preference)
  • Dashi stock: 4 cups (instant dashi granules can be used)
  • Tofu: 100g, cut into small cubes
  • Wakame seaweed: 1 tablespoon, dried
  • Spring onions: 2, finely chopped


  1. First, prepare your dashi stock as per the instructions on the package if using instant dashi. If using homemade dashi, make sure it’s heated.
  2. In a separate bowl, add a small amount of warm dashi to the miso paste and whisk until it forms a smooth mixture.
  3. Add the miso mixture back into the pot of dashi, stirring well to combine. Make sure the soup is on low heat as boiling it can result in a loss of miso’s aroma and flavour.
  4. Add the dried wakame and tofu cubes to the soup and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. The wakame will expand and rehydrate as it cooks.
  5. Once the tofu is heated through, and the wakame is rehydrated, the soup is ready to serve. Ladle into bowls and garnish with finely chopped spring onions.

Japanese Miso Soup is simple, quick to prepare, and packed with umami flavour. This recipe allows you to experience the essence of Japanese cuisine right in your kitchen. With just a few ingredients and steps, you can enjoy a steaming bowl of this comforting soup anytime. Itadakimasu (Let’s eat)!

4. Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Vietnamese Spring Rolls, also known as Summer Rolls, are a fresh and healthy alternative to traditional deep-fried spring rolls. Wrapped in translucent rice paper, they offer a rainbow of colours from the vibrant ingredients packed inside. Served with a tangy dipping sauce, these spring rolls are a delightful combination of crisp vegetables, tender prawns, aromatic herbs, and soft rice noodles. Let’s dive into how you can make them at home.


  • Rice paper: 10 sheets
  • Vermicelli noodles: 100g, cooked as per package instructions
  • Prawns: 20, cooked and halved lengthwise
  • Fresh herbs: a handful each of mint and cilantro
  • Lettuce: 10 leaves, washed and dried
  • Dipping sauce: to serve (Hoisin or peanut sauce work well)


  1. Prepare all the ingredients and have them within reach. The process of rolling the spring rolls will be easier and quicker this way.
  2. Soak a sheet of rice paper in warm water until it softens, about 20-30 seconds. Lay the softened rice paper on a clean, flat surface.
  3. On the one edge of the rice paper, place a lettuce leaf, a small handful of vermicelli noodles, a few herb leaves, and two prawn halves.
  4. Start rolling the rice paper over the filling, tucking in the sides as you go, until you have a tight roll. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  5. Serve the Vietnamese Spring Rolls whole or cut in half, with a side of your preferred dipping sauce.

These Vietnamese Spring Rolls are a burst of freshness and flavour in every bite. They’re perfect for a light lunch, appetizer, or a snack on a warm summer day. So, roll up your sleeves and roll up some spring rolls. Enjoy the taste of Vietnam in your home!

5. Korean Bibimbap

Let’s hop over to the Korean peninsula to enjoy Bibimbap, a popular Korean rice dish. The term ‘Bibimbap’ literally translates to ‘mixed rice,’ and that’s exactly what it is – a colourful medley of sautéed vegetables, a bit of protein (usually beef), all atop a bed of warm, fluffy rice. The finishing touch is a dollop of gochujang (Korean red chilli paste) that you mix in to add as much or as little heat as you prefer. Here’s how you can make Bibimbap at home:


  • Steamed rice: 4 cups
  • Assorted vegetables: 4 cups (like carrots, cucumber, mushrooms, spinach), thinly sliced or chopped
  • Beef: 200g, thinly sliced
  • Eggs: 4, fried sunny-side up
  • Gochujang (Korean red chilli paste): 4 tablespoons
  • Sesame oil, soy sauce, salt, and pepper: to taste


  1. Start by preparing your vegetables. Some vegetables, like cucumber, can be used raw, while others, like spinach and mushrooms, need to be sautéed in a bit of sesame oil. Use salt and pepper to season them.
  2. Sauté the beef slices in a bit of sesame oil, seasoned with a dash of soy sauce and pepper.
  3. To assemble your Bibimbap, put a serving of steamed rice into a bowl, and neatly arrange your prepared vegetables and cooked beef on top. Try to place contrasting colours next to each other for a vibrant presentation.
  4. Place a sunny-side-up egg in the centre, and top it all with a spoonful of gochujang.
  5. Before eating, mix all the ingredients together, blending the gochujang evenly into the dish. Add more if you prefer a spicier taste.

Korean Bibimbap is not only pleasing to the eye but also offers a variety of flavours and textures in one bowl, making it a well-balanced meal. Whether you stick to traditional ingredients or make it with leftovers in your fridge, Bibimbap is a delightful dish that you can enjoy anytime. Happy cooking!

6. Filipino Chicken Adobo

Adobo, often considered the national dish of the Philippines, is a method of marinating and cooking meat in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns. The result is a tender, flavourful dish with a balance of salty, sour, and sweet tastes.


  • Chicken: 500g, cut into pieces
  • Soy sauce: 1/2 cup
  • Vinegar: 1/2 cup
  • Garlic: 6 cloves, peeled and crushed
  • Bay leaves: 2
  • Peppercorns: 1 teaspoon
  • Water: 1 cup
  • Sugar: 1 tablespoon


  1. In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Add the chicken, stir to coat, and marinate for at least 1 hour (or overnight for a more intense flavour).
  2. In a large pot, combine the chicken with marinade and water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Lower the heat, cover, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened.
  4. Stir in the sugar, adjust the seasoning if needed, and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Serve the Chicken Adobo with steamed rice, spooning the delicious sauce over the top.

7. Indonesian Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng, or Indonesian fried rice, is a versatile dish often made with leftover ingredients. It’s typically flavoured with kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), shallots, garlic, tamarind, and chilli, and topped with a fried egg.


  • Steamed rice: 3 cups, preferably leftover
  • Shallots: 2, finely chopped
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, finely chopped
  • Chilli: 1, finely chopped
  • Kecap manis (sweet soy sauce): 2 tablespoons
  • Tamarind paste: 1 teaspoon
  • Vegetable oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Eggs: 2, fried sunny-side up


  1. Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the shallots, garlic, and chilli, and stir-fry until aromatic.
  2. Add the rice, breaking up any clumps, and stir-fry for a few minutes until well coated and heated through.
  3. Add the kecap manis and tamarind paste, and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Serve the Nasi Goreng hot, topped with a fried egg.

8. Indian Chana Masala

Chana Masala, or chickpea curry, is a hearty and flavourful dish from India. The chickpeas are cooked in a tangy tomato-based sauce infused with a variety of spices and served with rice or bread like roti or naan.


  • Chickpeas: 2 cups, cooked
  • Onion: 1, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes: 2, finely chopped
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced
  • Ginger: 1-inch piece, grated
  • Chana masala powder: 2 teaspoons
  • Chilli powder: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Oil: 2 tablespoons


  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and sauté until the onions are golden brown.
  2. Add the chana masala powder, chilli powder, and turmeric, and sauté for a couple of minutes until aromatic.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook until they’re soft and well blended with the spices.
  4. Add the chickpeas and enough water to get your preferred consistency. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Serve the Chana Masala hot with rice or bread of your choice.

9. Singaporean Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice is a dish of Chinese origin most commonly associated with Singaporean cuisine. It’s a simple dish of poached chicken served with fragrant, oily rice, and a bowl of hot soup.


  • Whole chicken: 1
  • Jasmine rice: 2 cups
  • Garlic: 4 cloves, minced
  • Ginger: 2-inch piece, sliced
  • Spring onions: 4, tied into knots
  • Sesame oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Salt: to taste


  1. In a large pot, boil enough water to cover the chicken. Add the chicken, ginger, spring onions, and salt. Cook for about 40-50 minutes, until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken, rub it with sesame oil, and set aside.
  2. Strain the broth and set aside. In a pan, sauté the garlic until golden, add the rice and stir until well coated. Transfer to a rice cooker, add the appropriate amount of chicken broth, and cook.
  3. Serve the poached chicken with a side of chicken rice, and a bowl of the remaining hot soup.

10. Malaysian Satay

Satay is a popular Southeast Asian dish of skewered and grilled meat, often served with a peanut dipping sauce. Here, we’ll be making a Malaysian version of Satay with chicken.


  • Chicken: 500g, cut into small cubes
  • Lemongrass: 2 stalks, white part only, finely chopped
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced
  • Soy sauce: 2 tablespoons
  • Ground turmeric: 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar: 1 teaspoon
  • Oil: for grilling


  1. In a bowl, combine the lemongrass, garlic, soy sauce, turmeric, and sugar. Add the chicken cubes, mix well, and marinate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Skewer the marinated chicken cubes onto bamboo skewers.
  3. Grill the skewers on a barbecue or a grill pan, basting with oil and turning regularly, until the chicken is nicely charred and cooked through.
  4. Serve the Chicken Satay with a side of peanut sauce (store-bought or homemade), cucumber slices, and rice cakes.


With these ten simple yet flavourful Asian dishes under your belt, you’re well on your way to becoming a master of Asian cuisine! Cooking these dishes at home can be a joyous culinary journey, allowing you to explore different cultures from the comfort of your kitchen. Remember, the beauty of Asian cuisine lies in its diversity and adaptability, so don’t hesitate to make each dish your own by adjusting the ingredients and flavours to your liking.

So, why wait? Stock up your pantry, don your apron, and start cooking! There’s a whole continent’s worth of flavours waiting for you to explore. Good luck on your culinary adventure, and above all, enjoy the process and the delicious results!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. I can’t find all the ingredients mentioned in the recipes. What can I do?

Many ingredients in Asian cuisine can be replaced with more commonly available items without drastically changing the flavour of the dish. Feel free to experiment with what you have at hand, and remember, cooking is about having fun and creating dishes that you love!

2. How can I make these dishes vegetarian or vegan?

Many Asian dishes are easily adaptable to vegetarian or vegan diets. You can substitute meat with tofu, tempeh, or a variety of vegetables. In place of fish sauce, you can use soy sauce or tamari.

3. What if I can’t handle spicy food?

Asian cuisine is not all about heat. If you can’t handle spiciness, feel free to reduce the number of chillies or even skip them in the recipes. You can still enjoy the rich, umami-packed flavours of Asian cuisine without the burn!

4. Can I prepare these dishes ahead of time?

Yes, many Asian dishes are perfect for meal prep. You can make large batches and store them in the fridge for a few days. Just be aware that some dishes, like Vietnamese Spring Rolls, are best eaten fresh.

5. I’m having difficulty with the cooking techniques mentioned in the recipes. What should I do?

Don’t worry, cooking is a learning process. If a particular technique seems challenging, there are plenty of online tutorials and videos that can guide you step-by-step. Remember, practice makes perfect!

Thank you for being a part of our culinary journey. Let us know which recipe you tried and loved in the comments section below. Happy Cooking!

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